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Mary Jane Simkins

Mary Jane Simkins Obituary
Mary Jane Simkins, age 89, passed peacefully into the Lord's hands on October 27, 2019, surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Erie, on August 4, 1930, the daughter of Thomas and Catherine (McLaughlin) Mead.

She helped raise a beautiful close-knit family, hand-in-hand with her sister Ann Marie Bool.

Mary graduated from St. Andrew's Grade School and Villa Maria Academy in Erie. She worked at Lovell Manufacturing, Gannon University, Erie Resistor and Kaiser Aluminum. Mary's heart shone brightly as a volunteer with Big Brother/Big Sister and St. Joseph's Orphanage.

Mary married the love of her life, Gerald "Jerry" Simkins, in 1971. Alongside Jerry, Mary ran the Patio Drive-In in North East, Pa., where they met and made welcome many travelers across I90. They were well known for the best hot fudge around. Mary's delicious coffee cake was a blue-ribbon winner at the North East Fair and still headlines the family cookbook.

From North East, life took Mary and Jerry out west to Walnut Creek and San Ramon, Calif., where they worked for New York Life and Lincoln National. While there, Mary had 15 minutes of fame in the movie, Sister Act, as an extra alongside Whoopi Goldberg.

Mary and Jerry continued their trailblazing tour through Sarasota, Fla., Traveler's Rest, S.C., Hendersonville, N.C. and The Villages, Fla. in the years that followed. Mary was a dedicated volunteer with the military Operation Shoebox, who authored notes that were enclosed with care packages for servicemen and women overseas. In 2015, Mary and Jerry moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to be closer to Gwenn, Tom, Elizabeth and Kevin.

Though Mary and Jerry did not have children of their own, their love and attention to their nieces and nephews, Gwenn and Tom and their daughters Elizabeth & Emily, Chuck and Diana, and their daughters, Katie and Meghan, went beyond the bonds usually expected of an aunt and uncle. Mary and Jerry attended dozens of dance and piano recitals, swim meets, soccer tournaments, and graduations and never missed a Christmas or Thanksgiving with the family.

In addition to her parents, Mary was preceded in death by her beloved dog, Rascal, who traveled paw-in-hand with Mary and Jerry for over 17 years. Mary is survived by her soulmate Jerry; sister, Ann Bool; nieces and nephews, Gwenn Freeman, Chuck Bool, Thomas Freeman, Diana Bool, Katie Shafer, Elizabeth Murphy, Meghan Bool, Emily Phillippi, Timothy Shafer, Kevin Murphy, and Patrick Phillippi; her namesake great-niece, Samantha Mary Shafer; and countless other friends, family, neighbors, and jackrabbits she loved dearly.

We leave you now with Mary's words to us, "I hate to say it boys and girls, but I've got to go. Goodbye Sweetie."

A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, November 8, 2019, at 4 p.m. at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 1116 W 7th St, Erie, PA 16502. A Memorial Service will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sunday, November 17 at 1 p.m., at Waltonwood Providence, 11945 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28277.

In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation to Military Operation Shoebox, 8360 East Highway 25, Belleview, FL 34420 or Big Brother & Sisters of Erie, 5100 Peach St., Erie, PA 16509.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Heritage Funeral & Cremation Services, 16151 Lancaster Hwy Ste. A, Charlotte, NC 28277, https://www.heritagecares.com.

Sign the Guestbook at www.GoErie.com/obits.
Published in the Erie Times-News on Nov. 3, 2019
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